A federal judge on Monday dismissed former President Trump’s request to subpoena documents pertaining to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Trump had alleged that government officials did not preserve crucial information related to the event. The judge, Tanya Chutkan, overseeing the case concerning Trump’s efforts to maintain power, ruled that the subpoena request was akin to a “fishing expedition” and determined that it did not meet the necessary legal standards.
In an October submission, Trump reiterated a contested allegation that the former House select committee, tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 incident and chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), did not disclose all the evidence it had gathered. Trump’s legal team aimed to subpoena Rep. Thompson and several other government officials, arguing that there were “missing materials” that should be accounted for. However, Judge Chutkan’s decision ultimately rejected these efforts to obtain the documents.
Judge Tanya Chutkan critiqued the broad and imprecise nature of the documents requested by the defendant, likening it more to a “fishing expedition” than a genuine effort to gather specific evidence. She observed that the request’s wide-ranging scope and vague rationale did not align with a sincere attempt to procure relevant evidence, but rather seemed to misuse the Rule 17(c) subpoena as a tool for discovery.
Additionally, former President Trump aimed to secure cooperation from Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), chair of the House Administration Oversight Subcommittee. Loudermilk has stated that he did not receive all records from the panel. Efforts were also made to subpoena the national archivist and legal representatives of both the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump’s legal team argued last month that the president had every right to subpoena these “Missing Records” to ascertain whether they had been lost, destroyed, or altered.
On the other hand, Rep. Thompson insisted that the committee had provided all necessary work products and official records, including transcripts from all witness interviews. However, not all video recordings that were not used in their hearings were included. In August, Thompson clarified that the committee did not archive temporary records that were not utilized in hearings, official publications, or those that did not advance its investigative activities. Therefore, according to him, the committee was not required to archive all video recordings of transcribed interviews or depositions, countering the implications made in the subpoena request.